A 2nd Civil War? As Christ’s Followers Have We Yet Begun to Fight?
Yesterday I read an article by fellow Barbwire contributor Larry Tomczak in which he observes succinctly that “we’re in the midst of a second Civil War in our nation.” He affirms the view of a friend that the response of many Americans who profess to follow Jesus Christ suggests that “The American Church still thinks this is a game…stays in her safe zone…and like a party on the Titanic, pats herself on the back for her “big events.”
I think Mr. Tomczak’s observation accurately reflects the behavior of those the secular media identifies as Church leaders because they are successful by measures the world holds in high regard. This worldly perspective is why so many scrambled to justify the belief that, though we still profess to bring Christ into the midst of us, it makes sense to see the choice of Barabbas as a temporary respite from the eclipse of salvation for a nation that would not exist at all if not for God’s exaltation, in and through Christ, of the lowly above the proud.
Christ came to be their freedom from bondage to the standards of a world felled, first and thereafter continually, by sin. Before he came, lasting government of, by and for the people was rightly regarded as a political ignis fatuus, proven so time and again, even despite the intervenient care of God Himself for His chosen people.
America rose rapidly, despite the relatively primitive conditions in which it was born, to heights the world would recognize as great. But throughout that time the key to its rise lay, not in the courage or Herculean labors of this or that godlike champion, but in the perseverance of ordinary folks. More often than not they were fueled by no ambition but to plant the seeds of ordinary family life in some place where God would smile upon their labors.
By their faith in Christ, they trusted in God to value their decent hearts. They trusted that He would never condemn the poor dress and sweaty hardship their righteous labors required. And with the true consequence of Christ’s crucifixion proven by their own spiritual rebirth, they trusted in God as well through patches so hard even the best of them were tempted, like Job’s wife, by desperate counsels of despair.
Those early Americans’ endurance, despite that temptation, revealed the partiality of prior accounts of human greatness. The American story exposed the heroism of ordinary lives, so-called because of people who followed, even in the wilderness, the laws God inscribed upon the heart. The American story discovered the bonds of courage, self-discipline and stubborn hope that enable the human heart, though often broken, to endure.
The comparison to the first Civil War may underestimate our peril. In his famous Second Inaugural Lincoln could truthfully say of North and South that “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.” There was a common ground of moral authority and principle that harkened back to the American Declaration of Independence. But in our day, that agreement on the transcendent source and authority for justice is precisely what is at issue.
How many Americans realize that, absent the appeal to God, the assertion of human equality, and the pursuit of liberty and justice for all, make no sense? Without that appeal, power and its prerequisites (money and a predisposition to deceit and violence) resume their age-old preeminence. It’s happening before our eyes. Mammon and Mars (the god of war) have replaced God and Jesus Christ. And Christians are conniving at this, as if they have no responsibility to bear witness against it, as citizens.
Meanwhile, the spirit of licentious hedonism (the god Venus to the Romans, Aphrodite to the Greeks), amply seasoned with the pursuit of false paths to oblivion (the Roman god Bacchus) have replaced the Holy Spirit of God as the focus of our longing for love, union, and transcendent peace. Monarchic and oligarchic despotism are the forms of government suited to people thus enslaved to individual human passions and ambitions.
It was in Christ that ordinary individuals found, instead, the key to decent individual self-government, starting in the home and rising to encompass state and nation. Yet people who profess to be followers of Christ no longer boldly unfurl the Declaration’s standard of God’s authority over human beings, as over all things else.
Too many have been brainwashed into shamefully abandoning the Declaration’s God focused and God-dependent logic—even though that logic is the key to maintaining our constitutional sovereignty and self-government as a people.
In this sense, how can there a battle of any kind, much less a civil war, when the side that can best defend America’s constitutional liberty (the side that professes God and Jesus Christ) has not yet openly begun to wage it?
To do so, in truth, we must as citizens, boldly rely on God’s terms. We must have His name and authority ever on our minds and in our hearts. We must take His written and Incarnate Word as proof of His benevolent will—keeping it readily upon our lips and in our acts.
By now there is no doubt that our nation is in the midst of an existential crisis. There’s also no doubt that bold advocacy of God’s truth, justice and endowment of rights is the only martial art that offers us any hope of enduring that crisis. Such advocacy is the only way to restore and preserve us as a nation. It is the only way we to restore the character required for our self-government. It is the only way to demonstrate anew that we are determined to represent to all humans alike the hope for good government and peace God holds out to all humanity.
This is the loving goodwill with which God, even now, seeks to preserve the way of life (i.e., nature) He specifically endows to us, and entails upon our title of humanity. It bespeaks, like God Himself, our common good—but only if, and when, we respect the terms of His endowment of rights, for those terms both anticipate and preserve the special quality of our existence.
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